An overweening intellect is like an unweaned baby.
1 LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or awesome for me.
2 But I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes, like a small child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD — now and always. (NLT)
There is an immaturity in the mind that refuses to accept some things are simply beyond the grasp of the human intellect. It may be a complexity of systematic theology, or it might be a thorny problem we are trying to sort out for ourselves.
The mind that refuses to accept its limitation before the Lord is like a newborn that wants what he wants, when he wants it. A mature mind places its trust in the Lord and walks beside him, instead of demanding to be fed simply because it is hungry.
In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul says he couldn’t teach the believers in Corinth like he could have if they had been spiritually mature. Instead he had to give them baby’s milk. He said that one proof of their spiritual immaturity was that they quarreled among themselves. Sound like any church members you know? Any systematic theology buffs?
A proud heart is a fallible mind that tries to force finite truths to explain infinite, infallible truth. Haughty eyes look upon a pastor or teacher and complain, “I’m just not being fed by this man.” Why would we be surprised quarrels occur when people refuse to grow up and start eating meat instead of mother’s milk?
The pride is so deeply rooted in some hearts that they believe they are eating solid food, when in fact they are still sucking at the teat. Ever known a systematic theology buff who was so proud he had mastered the minutiae of another man’s thoughts? Ever known a church member so spiritual that she criticized the pastor for not teaching deep truth from the pulpit – or for teaching deep truth instead of preaching Gospel basics every Sunday?
Paul says some believers are like children who ought to be eating solid food but instead still need milk. “Solid food is for the mature,” he says. (Hebrews 5:14) He exhorts immature believers to stop going over the same truths again and again and move on to maturity in understanding. (6:1)
He also warns of dire consequences for refusing to grow up. He warns that turning away from maturity amounts to rejecting the Son of God and holding him up to pubic shame. A field that insists on yielding thorns and thistles, instead of the crop planted by the farmer, is worthless and in danger of being burned off.
We need to confess our pride and admit that some things are just beyond our grasp. We need to quiet ourselves before the Lord and leave to him the matters that are too great for our finite, fallible minds. We need to walk with the Lord and let him teach us truth himself, instead of sitting at the feet of other men and taking their insights as the Gospel itself.
We need to in humility put our hope in the Lord – now and always – instead of placing it in human abilities that are bound to fail.